Tips for Healthy Holiday Feasting

The holiday season is a time to celebrate with family and friends. Unfortunately, for many of us it also becomes a time for over-eating and weight gain. According to the National Institutes of Health, holiday eating can result in an extra pound or two every year. Over a lifetime, holiday weight gain can really add up. The holidays don't have to mean weight gain. Focus on a healthy balance of food, activity, and fun. Try implementing these simple tips to help you stay healthy through the holiday season.


1. Be realistic. DonŐt try to lose weight during the busy holiday season, instead work on maintaining your current weight.

2. DonŐt skip your exercise routine. Exercise helps relieve holiday stress and prevent weight gain. Your daily exercise routine can help offset increased calorie intake. 

3. DonŐt skip meals. Before leaving for a party, eat a light snack like raw vegetables or fruit, something that will curb your appetite. You will be less tempted to over-indulge.

4. When it comes to party buffets choose your favorite foods and skip the others. Include vegetables and fruits to keep your plate balanced.

5. Eat until you are just full, not stuffed. Savor small portions of your favorite holiday treats and donŐt rush. Sit with friends and enjoy the conversation. 

6 Alcohol can lessen inhibitions and induce overeating; non-alcoholic beverages can be full of calories and sugar.

7. If you overeat at one meal go light on the next.

8. Take the focus off food. Instead of making candy and cookies try doing some non-edible projects like wreaths, dough art decorations or a gingerbread house. Plan group activities that arenŐt about food.

9. Bring your own healthy dish to a holiday gathering- who knows it might catch on.

10. Practice healthy holiday cooking. Incorporate these simple-cooking tips in traditional holiday recipes to make them healthier.

Gravy — Refrigerate the gravy to harden fat. Skimming the fat off will save 56 grams of fat per cup.

Dressing — Use less bread and add more onions, garlic, celery, vegetables, mushrooms, cranberries or chestnuts.

Turkey – Enjoy delicious, roasted turkey breast without the skin and save 11 grams of saturated fat per 3 oz serving.

Mashed Potatoes — Use skim milk, chicken broth, garlic or garlic powder, and Parmesan cheese instead of whole milk and butter.

Desserts — Make a crustless pumpkin pie. Substitute two egg whites for each whole egg in baked recipes. Replace heavy cream with skim milk or rice milk in cheesecakes and cream pies. Top cakes with fresh fruit, fruit sauce, or a sprinkle of powdered sugar instead of fattening frosting.


Christmas should be a time of feasting, so enjoy the holidays and donŐt restrict yourself. Just use common sense. Till next time, happy holidays, Rebecca.